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Just finished watching Yellow Trail for the first time. Since I still own a MF 750 Combine the movie had even more meaning. It is sad to hear of the passing of Dale, men like him have made this country great.



I was able to attend the funeral and was honored to be able to represent my friends in England. I can honestly say working for Dale for 4 years in the late 70's early 80's opened up my horizons. I have met many individuals that have become life long friends. The services were very nice. His family appreciated the thoughts and prayers of all of those I represented. I agree with you Delbert and I expressed this to his family, it seems that this was the last of the great custom harvesters of the day to pass.

I talked to Dale about 10 days before he passed and I will miss him.


It was my privilege to be on Dale's crew from '79 to '83.
He was a man of great determination,his combine expertise was second to non, and he had a good sense of humour too!

He has had a huge impact on my life. Thanks Dale, you taught us well.
We are proud to call ourselves "Starks' Harvesters"


As a result of seeing the film "Yellow Trail From Texas", I had a burning desire to become one of Dale Starks' crew members. Fortunately, this dream came true and I am deeply indepted to Dale for the wealth of knowledge he shared with me, many truly good folk he and the nature of his work introduced me to and some really great experiences he and his business granted me.

Many of his supreme quips and expressions will stay with me for ever.
Thankyou, Dale - may you Rest In Peace.

Kevin Clarke

Custom harvesting has fascinated my brother and me for many years. We haven't been on the harvest run ourselves but we do enjoy watching any films on this particular subject. Yellow Trail From Texas is a fascinating documentary, ranging from the early years of the Wild West and the introduction of wheat to the men and machines that battle against the elements to gather the ripe grain. This film truly captures the imagination.

While we were on holiday in Oklahoma, June '07, we were lucky enough to meet up with Dale Starks. At 83, Dale was still custom harvesting. Rain, the night before, had stopped cutting and Dale was anxious to finish and move north to the next contract. (Some things never change.) We enjoyed our time with Dale who spoke of the early years - the heydays - comparing that time with how it is now. He said that if he had his time over again he would do the same thing.

The re-release of Yellow Trail will mean a whole new generation will be able to enjoy watching what is considered by many as the "Glory Years" of gathering grain across America's vast wheat belt.

Best wishes to you, Dale.
Kevin & Steven.


Very sad to hear that Dale Starks died. From your comments and the documentary, he was a great man. I remember watching this video at my grandparents house years ago. Does anyone still have this on video?


Just wanted to add how sad to realise Dale had passed on at the end of last season. I was also one of the lucky ones to have experienced working with Dale and Terry back in 82. A year I will never forget, Dale taught me almost everthing there was to know about combines and harvesting, thanks to him I'm still running Massey combines and each summer we go on the yellow trail to Norfolk UK. Not quite the same though, like many others many happy memories and fantastic quotes to remember. Thanks Dale for a great start in life, you will be remembered during every golden harvest. Proud to have worked with you may you rest in peace.
Ken Goodger

stuart jamieson

this is a great film and coudnt believe it was coming out in dvd.seen it in the mid 90's,i think it was on bb2,cant remember now.i had it taped but it was destroyed.much to my joy it was realeased again.since seeing this as a kid on tv it made me want to go on the harvest run,all being well am heading off next year to do the run.i read about steven and kevin going over to see dale in the classic tractor magazine.enjoyed reading about that to.Tell me this is margie still living.also has anyone any pics of dales crew back in the early 80's.i would love to see them

Tom Kirk

My thoughts to Margie, Larry and the family over Dale's passing.
Not sure how I came a cross this web site, but it was nice to read the thoughts of those who worked for Dale. I was the young Tom in the Yellow Trails of Texas movie those many years ago. Between my Junior and Senior year in college I was looking for a direction for my life to head. I will say in all honesty, Dale made my decision to go back to school to get an Engineering Degree very easy. The many hours of work, the hot weather of Texas through Nebraska, and the cold nights in Canada, where not my life lone calling. Dale on the other hand truly loved this yellow road he traveled.


Tom Kirk. Snce seeing the film I always wandered what you were working at now. Dale wasn't too impressed with the rock getting trapped in the combine! lol.

Manchester United

Nice post. Really I liked it.


Paul Hore

I was one of those young men that first saw Dale and his crew harvesting across the USA and at that time I said to my perents, thats what I want to do when I leave school, so did ag collage and went to the USA for 2 years in 83/4 and worked the harvest, 26 years later its still in my blood and try to return on a regular basis to get my fix, I worked for a family in Texas and they are my second family the other side of the pond and I Thank the Haynes family and Dale Starks for what taught me about life
Rest in peace Dale,

Roger Smith

Thanks for your comment, Paul. The more I hear about Dale and contract cutting the more I can understand what a hold it took on the young men who were adventurous enough to go out to the States and join in. This summer we're publishing the book of Rob White's memories of his five years with Dale. See Starks' Harvesters at http://rogergsmith.typepad.co.uk/publishing_days/2010/04/starks-harvesters-contract-cutting-book-advance-information.html. Roger Smith

Paul Hore

Thanks Roger, I have 2 books pre ordered and very much looking forward to getting them.I have just got back from the States, went out in May and helped the family I worked for get started,7 machines this year, all new JD STS with 35 headers,Much better crops this year than last, Thankfully. now waiting on things to be ready here so we can get the balers going, then back to Texas in October for Milo and Corn.

Paul Hore

Just got my book and its fantastic, there is so much in it that relates to my time on harvest and how the family you work for become part of you, Im not a book reader but I could not put the book down, Thank you for shairing your stories, I remember Dales combines Parked in Vernon TX in 84 (I have a slide in the collection) and I wish i had made the effort to meet the man, I have met Charlie Norman several years ago, be good to make contact again some time, I also think it would be good to set up a UK club for us guys and gals that have made the harvest run, Boy we could tell some stories

David Pearson

Sad to hear that Dale is no longer with us he taught me so much
about combines and life. It was a privelege to have been part of his 1982 crew it was an experience that changed my life for the better. Just read Rob's book 'Starks Harvesters' and it all came back to me the long hours, the hard work and the great people.
Rest in peace Dale you are not forgotten.


I have watched YTFT, The Two Thousand Mile Harvest and Custom Cutters. I have travelled with my brother on the '08 harvest campaign from Ellinwood, KS. I have read Starks' Harvesters. I have visited the US Custom Harvesters and the 3i show!. My father and I visited every Deere, AGCO, CNH and Kinze dealership in the southern wheat belt. We got a guided tour of the AGCO Hesston plant. I really enjoyed the films and book.
Robert, you narrated a super story. Thank you. God rest Mr Starks.


perhaps you'd contact me
Thank you

Richard Currie

Robert. Please contact me as I worked for Dale on the harvest of '79. I think that you had to return early, but Charlie was still there. What a great life!

Robert S. White

Since writing "Starks' Harvesters" several people have taken the trouble to get in touch and say how much they have enjoyed the book. These include ex crew members who thought that they had lost touch for ever with the people that they worked with.
It is clear that being a member of a wheat harvesting crew has been a life changing experience for all of them, myself included.
Robert S. White

Bob Hagar

I was a Stark's Harvester (although nobody called us that then) during the summers of '68,'69, & '70, while I was in college. I remember well Dale, Margie, "Dutch" van Cleeve, the Goetze brothers in Texas, the old bachelors near Syndey, NE (one of whom kept saying "Like that, that way on to it!"), and the "FWD" rancher south of Kremlin, Montana. In the fields, I drove a MF 510 with a 20' header, and on the road, I drove the parts truck, pulling the 50' trailer. And every summer at the end of August, I left the crew in Cut Bank to return to college.

Were any of you on the crew at that time?

Bob Hagar


I know its a bit late but i watched the yellow trail with my dad in 1980s i was about 12/13 and that programme chainged my life i wanted to be part of the crew that went from the USA to Canada cutting , but it never hapend ,i have worked all over the world dismantling machinery and if it wasnt for watching that programme i would have gon down a difrent path in life . My dad passed away 10 weeks a go and tonight i sat down to watch it .minus my dad and i had a few tears . God bless you mr Starks

James Owen
Manchester England

Glen Reese

Dale and Margie Starks parked their mobile home in the front yard of my childhood home in Montana , during the 50s and 60s, in my teen years. They harvested our wheat fields, and we shared a childhood with Dale's son, Larry, one harvest season at a time. Margie became like our aunt. We became friends with their combine operators and truck drivers, year after year, while they stayed in our bunkhouse. I had no idea that Dale Starks had become famous.

Dale was an interesting and quotable guy, but I never thought of him as somebody to admire. Respect and fear, maybe, but not admire. His wife and kid had a lot to put up with. But I appreciate the harvest memories.

Roger Smith

Thanks Glen. It is good to have a balancing view about Dale. He wasn't an angel but he inspired respect, or even devotion, in some of those who worked with him. A very strong character. A short, late interview with him is included in The American Dream - see http://www.oldpond.com.


Roger- Thanks for the response. My brother has ordered a copy of the DVD, to share with the rest of us. I also drove combines in the early 60's, with 16' headers and no cabs. It was pretty brutal, for the few weeks each year that I did it. I have no idea how the custom cutters did it for months on end. And we all were amazed at Margie Starks' ability to shovel wheat.

I recently visited Montana and talked with a friend who still farms near Gildford. The machines now sport 40' headers, air-conditioned cabs, and GPS control. Some have no driver on board. They are astonishingly expensive. A small price to pay to avoid inhaling the barley beards.

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